Facebook’s Public Stance on Privacy Differs From Its Private Lobbying
by Samra Anees
On March 6th, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced via a Facebook post that they are striving for a more “privacy-focused” future for the company. This comes after continued negative news in the press over how it collects data on users. In one case, Facebook was paying teenagers to allow them to see all of the things they were doing on their cell phone.
Privacy is the Future of Communication Platforms
In his Facebook post, Zuckerberg said that he believes the future of communication will increasingly get more private, and private messages will be more secure. He emphasized prioritizing safety and privacy of messages, but gave no explanation of how Facebook will accomplish this goal. However, to us this is Facebook’s attempt to spin out of their negative publicity cycle over its tracking of user behavior.
Facebook Lobbies Against Privacy Laws
While Facebook is talking about privacy, it has simultaneously been found lobbying hundreds of politicians against data privacy legislation, threatening to withhold investments from countries that don’t support Facebook-friendly laws and incentives to countries that do.
The lobbying included a big push that targeted politicians who attended Davos. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has been personally involved with this lobbying effort. It is important to note that Facebook’s business model is heavily reliant on using its users’ data to run relevant ads.
Facebook Has Breached Users’ Privacy Through Mobile Apps
As more data comes out about Facebook, it seems that it is harvesting user data everywhere. Just last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that mobile apps on Google and Apple smartphones were sending data to Facebook. The Wall Street Journal hired a testing firm that found 11 popular apps were sharing data with Facebook. Some of the apps that were sharing data included:
- Heart Rate: HR Monitor
- Flo Health Inc.’s Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker
The Truth is Still Chasing Facebook
Facebook has a long way to go with privacy and it isn’t being completely honest about its business practices; but the truth is still chasing Facebook. Government oversight looks like it may be merited for what has become something close to a communications platform. Developing.